Iqbal's religious views derived from Ahmadiyya
Views in prose.
Iqbal wrote as follows:
- “Arab sufism dominates the hearts and minds of the Muslims
of India. They are unable to understand Arab concepts. I am an ordinary
man, but even if the Holy Prophet Muhammad himself were to be born
again to preach Islam in this country I am sure that the people of
this land, in view of their present conditions and the influences
upon them, would probably not understand Islamic truths.”
(Makatib Iqbal, Letters of Iqbal, Letter to Niyaz-ud-Din Khan,
- “I believe that the Holy Prophet Muhammad is alive, and the
people of these times can derive spiritual benefit from him just as
did his Sahaba (Companions). But in this age even the expression of
a belief of this kind would be unacceptable to most minds, so I keep
(ibid., Part II, p. 317.)
- “By life is not meant life with the physical body. Hazrat
Abu Bakr recited the verse of the Quran: ‘Messengers before him have
passed away’, and this is the truth.”
(ibid., p. 40.)
The view expressed by Iqbal in this quotation supports the Ahmadiyya
interpretation that Jesus is not alive in his physical body, and
that he had died before the Holy Prophet Muhammad just as all other
prophets were dead at that time.
- “Would that the prayer of Maulana Nizami be accepted in this
age, and the Holy Prophet Muhammad re-appear to unveil his teachings
to the Muslims of India.”
(ibid., Part I, p. 41.)
Indeed, not only Maulana Nizami’s prayer but the prayers also of
countless other people were accepted, and a servant, lover, spiritual
image (buruz) and self-effaced follower of the Holy Prophet
came and unveiled before the world the original picture of the religion
of the Holy Prophet and the true teachings of Islam. But the world
meted out to him the same treatment which it does to all those who
come from God.
- “To understand religious issues, especially the religious
teachings of Islam, requires a particular kind of education. Regrettably,
the new generation of the Muslims is entirely unfamiliar with this.
With regard to Muslims, the cause of this trouble is that education
became completely non-religious.”
(ibid., Part I, p. 259.)
- “The critic is wrong in saying that Iqbal supports war in
this progressive age. I do not support war, nor can any Muslim do
so in view of the clear limits set by the Shariah. According to the
teaching of the Quran, there can only be two forms of jihad or war:
defensive and corrective. In the first case, that is, when Muslims
are persecuted and driven out of their homes, they are allowed, not
ordered, to take up the sword.
“The second case, in which jihad is obligatory, is given in 9:49
[in the Holy Quran]. Reading those verses carefully you will realize
that what was referred to by Sir Samuel Hoare as "collective security"
at the meeting of the League of Nations, the Quran has explained
the principle of the same with simplicity and eloquence. If Muslim
leaders and statesmen had pondered over the Quran, a League of Nations
would have been established in the Islamic world centuries ago.
The history of the League of Nations founded in the present day
also shows that until the will of nations follows the Divine law,
no path to world peace can be found. Besides the two kinds of war
mentioned above, I know of no other war. To wage war to satisfy
territorial greed is prohibited in Islam. By this reasoning, it
is also forbidden to raise the sword for the propagation of the
(ibid., Part I, pp. 203 – 204, letter to Maulvi Zafar Ahmad
- “I believe that the task of the propagation of Islam has
priority over all other duties at this time. If the aim of the Muslims
in India is merely to achieve independence and economic prosperity
by political means, and the defence of Islam is not among their aims,
as appears to be the case from the attitude of the nationalists of
today, then the Muslims shall never succeed in their aims. I say this
from personal insight, and after a little experience of current politics,
that so far as the Muslims are concerned the direction of politics
in India is a great danger for the religion of Islam. In my view,
the threat of the shuddi movement [A campaign by the militant
Arya Samaj Hindu sect to convert Muslims back to their ancestral Hindu
religion] is of no importance when compared to this danger, or at
least this too is an unperceived form of shuddi.”
(ibid., pp. 209 – 210.)
Influence of Ahmadiyya views on Iqbal’s poetry.
- Regarding the continuation of revelation from God, Iqbal
wrote in poetic verse:
“If some audacious person were to be the like of Moses, even now
there comes from behind the bush at Tur the call ‘fear not’,
[Translator: These words were the revelation
“Until the Book is revealed to your conscience, the knots cannot
be unravelled by either Razi or the author of Kashshaf,
[Translator: These are two classical
commentators of the Quran.]
“I am in communication with Gabriel, the Amin, there is
no rival, messenger or doorman for me in this path.
“O God, the meanings which You reveal to my soul like dew, through
them I have created a new world for wailing and crying.
“If a Shuaib could be procured, it only takes two steps from
tending sheep to receiving Divine revelation.” [Translator:
The reference is to Moses’ stay with Shuaib, during which
he tended sheep, and to his receiving revelation while returning
home after that stay.]
- Iqbal and his admirers and students consider it permissible
to use the terms nabi (prophet), paighambar (messenger),
juzwi nubuwwat (partial prophethood) etc., about non-prophets.
“I am, as it were, prophet (nabi) of the land of poetry,
on my lips runs the word of Hali.
“If the aim of poetry be to lead mankind, then poetry is the
heir to prophethood.”
A biographer of Iqbal writes:
“Wherever I have used the word mujaddid and likewise the
word paighambar for the Allama, I have not meant them in
their technical sense in the Shariah but have used them in their
(Maulvi Muhammad Tahir Faruqui, Sirat-i Iqbal, p. 210.)
Dr. Khalifa Abdul Hakim, an interpreter and admirer of Iqbal, and
famous Pakistani religious writer and philosopher, writes in a poem
in praise of Iqbal:
“This is poetry which is called a part of prophethood, this is poetry
which is a verse (ayat) coming from the discipleship of the
“This poetry is in reality reared by Divine revelation, the blessing
is highly exclusive but the benefit is very general.
“One whose word is of this kind is called kalim [one spoken
to by God], it is full of wisdom, he is called hakim [wise].”
- According to Dr. Iqbal, a man is not a believer unless he
reaches the rank of laulak.
[This term comes from the opening words of a saying
contained in Hadith according to which God said to the Holy Prophet:
“If it had not been for thee (lau laka), I would not have created
“The world is the inheritance only of the fearless believer, he
is not a believer who has not reached the stage of laulak.
“The whole world is the heritage of the true believer, the proof
of my statement is the subtle point of laulak.”
- Iqbal has spoken of a believer as being Abraham, Moses,
Jesus, and Muhammad. Some of his verses are quoted below, followed
by an explanation by one of Iqbal’s interpreters:
“No one knows the secret that the believer, apparently only reciting
the Quran, is in reality the Quran.
“The world is a house of idols, and the man of truth is khalil,
this is the idea which lies concealed in la ilaha.
[The reference in khalil is to Abraham who
smashed the idols of his people.]
“The true believer strikes like lightening from the sky, his
fuel is the cities and uninhabited areas of east and west.
“We are as yet enveloped in the darkness of creation, but he
takes part in running the world.
“He is kalim [Moses], and Masih [Messiah], and
he is Muhammad, he is the Book, he is Gabriel.”
An interpreter of Iqbal, Professor Yusuf Salim Chishti, explains
these verses as follows:
“It should be made clear that in the 8th, 9th and 10th stanzas the
advice Iqbal has given to young people can be summed up as follows:
O young people, acquire the quality of faqr [resigna tion to God].
However, this quality cannot be created without the company of a
spiritual guide, as is proved by the lives of the Sahaba. So he
is describing the attributes of the perfect spiritual guide: O reader!
the appearance of the man of truth, the perfect man, takes place
according to the Divine will. He comes from heaven. When God so
wishes, He raises for the reformation of His creatures a righteous
servant in whom the attributes of the Holy Prophet Muhammad are
reflected as an image. That man of God, the perfect mentor, annihilates
the forces of falsehood. His characteristics [according to Iqbal
in the above verses] are as follows:
“a. While people like us are merely conjecturing in the
dark about the creation, i.e. we are bound by time and space,
and are the subservient creation, he is involved in the organization
and running of the system of creation. That is to say, he is the
ruler of creation. It should be made clear that by ‘one who takes
part in the running of creation’ Iqbal means the man with whom
are associated matters relating to creation, just as with prophets
are associated matters relating to religious law. Hence Sura
Kahf refers to such an exalted person in the words ‘a servant
from among Our servants’ [ch. 18, v. 65].
“b. He is the heir to the spiritual qualities of Moses,
Jesus, Abraham and Muhammad, peace be upon them all. In him is
manifested the image of the attributes of the prophets. He is
potentially a prophet, but not actually a prophet because prophethood
has come to an end. This point has been explained by Mujaddid
Alif Sani in his Maktubat.
“c. All the holy men of God derive spiritual benefit from
“d. He first of all purifies the souls of human beings
and kindles the fire of Divine love in their hearts. Then he shows
them how to rule the world.”
(Yusuf Salim Chishti, Sharh Jawaid Nama, Ishrat Publishing
House, Anarkali, Lahore, 1956, pp. 1198 –1199.)
- Regarding the mi‘raj of the Holy Prophet, commonly
believed to be a physical rising to God, Dr. Iqbal writes:
“You have put Him on the 'arsh, O preacher, what a God is
He Who avoids the people.”
- As to the coming of the Mahdi and the Messiah, he writes:
“Look to the descent of God upon the minaret of your own heart,
and stop waiting even for the Mahdi and Jesus.
“Did Jesus die or is he still alive? Are the Divine attributes
distinct from God’s person or identical with His person?
“By the one to come, is it meant the original Jesus or a Mujaddid
possessing the attributes of the son of Mary?
“Are not enough for Muslims in this age, these idols carved out